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1.  ADP-Ribosylation of NLRP3 by Mycoplasma pneumoniae CARDS Toxin Regulates Inflammasome Activity 
mBio  2014;5(6):e02186-14.
The inflammasome is a major regulator of inflammation through its activation of procaspase-1, which cleaves prointerleukin-1β (pro-IL-1β) into its mature form. IL-1β is a critical proinflammatory cytokine that dictates the severity of inflammation associated with a wide spectrum of inflammatory diseases. NLRP3 is a key component of the inflammasome complex, and multiple signals and stimuli trigger formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome complex. In the current study, we uncovered a yet unknown mechanism of NLRP3 inflammasome activation by a pathogen-derived factor. We show that the unique bacterial ADP-ribosylating and vacuolating toxin produced by Mycoplasma pneumoniae and designated community-acquired respiratory distress syndrome (CARDS) toxin activates the NLRP3 inflammasome by colocalizing with the NLRP3 inflammasome and catalyzing the ADP-ribosylation of NLRP3. Mutant full-length CARDS toxin lacking ADP-ribosyltransferase (ADPRT) activity and truncated CARDS toxins unable to bind to macrophages and be internalized failed to activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. These studies demonstrate that CARDS toxin-mediated ADP-ribosylation constitutes an important posttranslational modification of NLRP3, that ADPRT activity of CARDS toxin is essential for NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and that posttranslational ADPRT-mediated modification of the inflammasome is a newly discovered mechanism for inflammasome activation with subsequent release of IL-1β and associated pathologies.
Inflammation is a fundamental innate immune response to environmental factors, including infections. The inflammasome represents a multiprotein complex that regulates inflammation via its ability to activate specific proinflammatory cytokines, resulting in an effective host protective response. However, excessive release of proinflammatory cytokines can occur following infection that skews the host response to “hyperinflammation” with exaggerated tissue damage. Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common bacterial airway pathogen, possesses a unique protein toxin with ADP-ribosyltransferase and vacuolating properties capable of reproducing the robust inflammation and cytopathology associated with mycoplasma infection. Here, we show that the toxin uniquely activates the NLRP3 inflammasome by colocalizing with and ADP-ribosylating NLRP3, possibly leading to “hyperinflammation” and thus uncovering a novel target for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC4278538  PMID: 25538194
2.  KLF6 and iNOS regulates apoptosis during respiratory syncytial virus infection 
Cellular immunology  2013;283(0):1-7.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a highly pathogenic lung-tropic virus that causes severe respiratory diseases. Enzymatic activity of inducible nitric oxide (iNOS) is required for NO generation. Although NO contributes to exaggerated lung disease during RSV infection, the role of NO in apoptosis during infection is not known. In addition, host trans-activator(s) required for iNOS gene expression during RSV infection is unknown. In the current study we have uncovered the mechanism of iNOS gene induction by identifying kruppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) as a critical transcription factor required for iNOS gene expression during RSV infection. Furthermore, we have also uncovered the role of iNOS as a critical host factor regulating apoptosis during RSV infection.
PMCID: PMC3744625  PMID: 23831683
Respiratory syncytial virus; nitric oxide; apoptosis; transcription factor; kruppel-like factor 6; inducible nitric oxide synthase
3.  DAMP Molecule S100A9 Acts as a Molecular Pattern to Enhance Inflammation during Influenza A Virus Infection: Role of DDX21-TRIF-TLR4-MyD88 Pathway 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(1):e1003848.
Pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) trigger host immune response by activating pattern recognition receptors like toll-like receptors (TLRs). However, the mechanism whereby several pathogens, including viruses, activate TLRs via a non-PAMP mechanism is unclear. Endogenous “inflammatory mediators” called damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) have been implicated in regulating immune response and inflammation. However, the role of DAMPs in inflammation/immunity during virus infection has not been studied. We have identified a DAMP molecule, S100A9 (also known as Calgranulin B or MRP-14), as an endogenous non-PAMP activator of TLR signaling during influenza A virus (IAV) infection. S100A9 was released from undamaged IAV-infected cells and extracellular S100A9 acted as a critical host-derived molecular pattern to regulate inflammatory response outcome and disease during infection by exaggerating pro-inflammatory response, cell-death and virus pathogenesis. Genetic studies showed that the DDX21-TRIF signaling pathway is required for S100A9 gene expression/production during infection. Furthermore, the inflammatory activity of extracellular S100A9 was mediated by activation of the TLR4-MyD88 pathway. Our studies have thus, underscored the role of a DAMP molecule (i.e. extracellular S100A9) in regulating virus-associated inflammation and uncovered a previously unknown function of the DDX21-TRIF-S100A9-TLR4-MyD88 signaling network in regulating inflammation during infection.
Author Summary
The lung disease severity following influenza A virus (IAV) infection is dependent on the extent of inflammation in the respiratory tract. Severe inflammation in the lung manifests in development of pneumonia. Therefore, it is very critical to identify cellular factors and dissect the molecular/cellular mechanism controlling inflammation in the respiratory tract during IAV infection. Knowledge derived from these studies will be instrumental in development of therapeutics to combat the lung disease associated with IAV infection. Towards that end, in the current study we have identified a cellular factor S100A9 which is responsible for enhanced inflammation during IAV infection. In addition, we have characterized a signal transduction pathway involving various cellular receptors and signaling adaptors that are involved in mediating S100A9-dependent inflammatory response. Thus, our studies have illuminated a cellular/molecular mechanism that can be intervened by therapeutics to reduce and control IAV-associated lung inflammatory disease like pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC3879357  PMID: 24391503
4.  Transactivation of inducible nitric oxide synthase gene by Kruppel-like factor 6 regulates apoptosis during influenza A virus infection 
Influenza A virus (flu) is a respiratory tract pathogen causing high morbidity and mortality among the human population. Nitric oxide (NO) is a cellular mediator involved in tissue damage due to apoptosis of target cells and resulting enhancement of local inflammation. Inducible nitric oxide (iNOS) is involved in the production of NO following infection. Although NO is a key player in the development of exaggerated lung disease during flu infection, the underlying mechanism including the role of NO in apoptosis during infection has not been reported. Similarly, the mechanism of iNOS gene induction during flu infection is not well defined in terms of host trans-activator(s) required for iNOS gene expression. In the current study we have identified kruppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) as a critical transcription factor essential for iNOS gene expression during flu infection. We have also underscored the requirement of iNOS in inducing apoptosis during infection. KLF6 gene silencing in human lung epithelial cells resulted in drastic loss of NO production, iNOS-promoter specific luciferase activity and expression of iNOS mRNA following flu infection. Chromatin immuno-precipitation assay revealed a direct interaction of KLF6 with iNOS promoter during both in vitro and in vivo flu infection of human lung cells and mouse respiratory tract, respectively. Significant reduction in flu mediated apoptosis was noted in KLF6 silenced cells, cells treated with iNOS inhibitor and in primary murine macrophages derived from iNOS knock-out (KO) mice. A similar reduction in apoptosis was noted in the lungs following intra-tracheal flu infection of iNOS KO mice.
PMCID: PMC3392426  PMID: 22711891
5.  Cholesterol-rich lipid rafts are required for release of infectious human respiratory syncytial virus particles 
Virology  2011;422(2):205-213.
Cholesterol and sphingolipid enriched lipid raft micro-domains in the plasma membrane play an important role in life-cycle of numerous enveloped viruses. Although human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) proteins associate with the raft domains of infected cells and rafts are incorporated in RSV virion particles, the functional role of raft during RSV infection was unknown. In the current study we have identified rafts as an essential component of host cell that is required for RSV infection. Treatment of human lung epithelial cells with raft disrupting agent methyl-beta-cyclodextrin (MBCD) led to drastic loss of RSV infectivity due to diminished release of infectious progeny RSV virion particles from raft disrupted cells. RSV infection of raft deficient Niemann-Pick syndrome type C human fibroblasts and normal human embryonic lung fibroblasts revealed that during productive RSV infection, raft is required for release of infectious RSV particles.
PMCID: PMC3249476  PMID: 22088217
Respiratory syncytial virus; cholesterol; lipid rafts; virus release
6.  TLR2/MyD88/NF-κB Pathway, Reactive Oxygen Species, Potassium Efflux Activates NLRP3/ASC Inflammasome during Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29695.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) constitute highly pathogenic virus that cause severe respiratory diseases in newborn, children, elderly and immuno-compromised individuals. Airway inflammation is a critical regulator of disease outcome in RSV infected hosts. Although “controlled” inflammation is required for virus clearance, aberrant and exaggerated inflammation during RSV infection results in development of inflammatory diseases like pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) plays an important role in inflammation by orchestrating the pro-inflammatory response. IL-1β is synthesized as an immature pro-IL-1β form. It is cleaved by activated caspase-1 to yield mature IL-1β that is secreted extracellularly. Activation of caspase-1 is mediated by a multi-protein complex known as the inflammasome. Although RSV infection results in IL-1β release, the mechanism is unknown. Here in, we have characterized the mechanism of IL-1β secretion following RSV infection. Our study revealed that NLRP3/ASC inflammasome activation is crucial for IL-1β production during RSV infection. Further studies illustrated that prior to inflammasome formation; the “first signal” constitutes activation of toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2)/MyD88/NF-κB pathway. TLR2/MyD88/NF-κB signaling is required for pro-IL-1β and NLRP3 gene expression during RSV infection. Following expression of these genes, two “second signals” are essential for triggering inflammasome activation. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and potassium (K+) efflux due to stimulation of ATP-sensitive ion channel promote inflammasome activation following RSV infection. Thus, our studies have underscored the requirement of TLR2/MyD88/NF-κB pathway (first signal) and ROS/potassium efflux (second signal) for NLRP3/ASC inflammasome formation, leading to caspase-1 activation and subsequent IL-1β release during RSV infection.
PMCID: PMC3266238  PMID: 22295065
7.  Oncolytic targeting of androgen-sensitive prostate tumor by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): consequences of deficient interferon-dependent antiviral defense 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:43.
Oncolytic virotherapy for cancer treatment utilizes viruses for selective infection and death of cancer cells without any adverse effect on normal cells. We previously reported that the human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a novel oncolytic virus against androgen-independent PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. The present study extends the result to androgen-dependent prostate cancer, and explores the underlying mechanism that triggers RSV-induced oncolysis of prostate cancer cells.
The oncolytic effect of RSV on androgen-sensitive LNCaP human prostate cancer cells and on androgen-independent RM1 murine prostate cancer cells was studied in vitro in culture and in vivo in a xenograft or allograft tumor model. In vitro, cell viability, infectivity and apoptosis were monitored by MTT assay, viral plaque assay and annexin V staining, respectively. In vivo studies involved virus administration to prostate tumors grown in immune compromised nude mice and in syngeneic immune competent C57BL/6J mice. Anti-tumorogenic oncolytic activity was monitored by measuring tumor volume, imaging bioluminescent tumors in live animals and performing histopathological analysis and TUNEL assay with tumors
We show that RSV imposes a potent oncolytic effect on LNCaP prostate cancer cells. RSV infectivity was markedly higher in LNCaP cells compared to the non-tumorigenic RWPE-1 human prostate cells. The enhanced viral burden led to LNCaP cell apoptosis and growth inhibition of LNCaP xenograft tumors in nude mice. A functional host immune response did not interfere with RSV-induced oncolysis, since growth of xenograft tumors in syngeneic C57BL/6J mice from murine RM1 cells was inhibited upon RSV administration. LNCaP cells failed to activate the type-I interferon (IFNα/β)-induced transcription factor STAT-1, which is required for antiviral gene expression, although these cells could produce IFN in response to RSV infection. The essential role of IFN in restricting infection was further borne out by our finding that neutralizing IFN activity resulted in enhanced RSV infection in non-tumorigenic RWPE-1 prostate cells.
We demonstrated that RSV is potentially a useful therapeutic tool in the treatment of androgen-sensitive and androgen-independent prostate cancer. Moreover, impaired IFN-mediated antiviral response is the likely cause of higher viral burden and resulting oncolysis of androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3038980  PMID: 21276246
8.  Activation of innate immune antiviral response by NOD2 
Nature immunology  2009;10(10):1073-1080.
Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) including Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and RIG like helicase (RLH) receptors are involved in innate immune antiviral responses. Here we show that nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2) can also function as a cytoplasmic viral PRR by triggering activation of interferon regulatory factor-3 (IRF3) and production of interferon-β (IFN). Following recognition of viral ssRNA genome, NOD2 utilized the adaptor protein MAVS (mitochondrial antiviral signaling) to activate IRF3. NOD2-deficient mice failed to produce IFN efficiently and exhibited enhanced susceptibility to virus-induced pathogenesis. Thus, the function of NOD2 as a viral PRR highlights the important role of NOD2 in host antiviral defense mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2752345  PMID: 19701189
9.  Iron and contact with host cells induce expression of adhesins on surface of Trichomonas vaginalis 
Molecular microbiology  2003;47(5):1207-1224.
The proteins AP65, AP51, AP33 and AP23 synthesized by Trichomonas vaginalis organisms in high iron play a role in adherence. Multigene families encode enzymes of the hydrogenosome organelles, which have identity to adhesins. This fact raises questions regarding the compartmentalization of the proteins outside the organelle and about the interactions of adhesins with host cells. Data here demonstrate the presence of the proteins outside the organelle under high-iron conditions. Fluorescence and immunocytochemical experiments show that high-iron-grown organisms coexpressed adhesins on the surface and intracellularly in contrast with low-iron parasites. Furthermore, the AP65 epitopes seen by rabbit anti-AP65 serum that blocks adherence and detects surface proteins were identified, and a mAb reacting to those epitopes recognized the trichomonal surface. Two-dimensional electrophoresis and immunoblot of adhesins from surface-labelled parasites provided evidence that all members of the multigene family were co-ordinately expressed and placed on the trichomonal surface. Similar two-dimensional analysis of proteins from purified hydrogenosomes obtained from iodinated trichomonads confirmed the specific surface labelling of proteins. Contact of trichomonads with vaginal epithelial cells increased the amount of surface-expressed adhesins. Moreover, we found a direct relationship between the levels of adherence and amount of adhesins bound to immortalized vaginal and ureter epithelial cells, further reinforcing specific associations. Finally, trichomonads of MR100, a drug-resistant isolate absent in hydrogenosome proteins and adhesins, were non-adherent. Overall, the results confirm an important role for iron and contact in the surface expression of adhesins of T. vaginalis organisms.
PMCID: PMC2562637  PMID: 12603729

Results 1-9 (9)